Cleveland-area port improvements get $32 million boost

February 20, 2024

The port of Cleveland will use a $32 million mix of federal and state grants to modernize the cargo terminal’s largest warehouse and upgrade the site’s electrical infrastructure.

The port is the only fully functioning container port on the Great Lakes and generates $3.5 billion annually for the Northeast Ohio economy. The facility serves as a gateway to Midwest markets including Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh.

“This project will work to increase the port’s efficiency in cargo movement with much needed improvements around the warehouse,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown wrote in a letter of support. “It will also enable a more energy efficient warehouse, which will help greatly decrease carbon emissions.”

Currently, the port’s 50-year-old Warehouse A can’t accommodate the evolving technology the port needs for successful operations, according to Port President and CEO William Friedman. Rehabilitation and modernization plans for the facility include repairing structural steel, buying an overhead crane, replacing windows, installing a concrete slab, updating lighting and replacing a roof.

The port will also direct funds toward developing an Electrification Master Plan and installing a terminal electric feed in collaboration with Cleveland Public Power. The electric distribution hub will serve as the foundation for future electrification efforts. The port will use electricity generated from renewable energy sources to power cargo handling equipment, charging stations, switching locomotives, ships when docked at the port, mobile harbor cranes and potential solar arrays on the warehouse roofs.

Other upgrades include building infrastructure to collect and treat stormwater to ensure its quality of discharge. The port will also bolster climate change resiliency to safeguard against increased storm intensity and heavy rainfalls. The project calls for building a learning center for students from Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Davis Aviation and Maritime High School. The port will reconstruct two smaller terminal buildings as warehouse annexes, opening cargo traveling lanes and freeing up cargo laydown space.

The majority of the funding – $27.2 million – comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Maritime Administration’s Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP). The competitive discretionary grant program supports ports and industry efforts to improve freight movement. The Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) Maritime Assistance Program (MAP) will provide $4.9 million. The state program helps improve cargo terminal operations efficiency and capacity.

The projects are part of a broader $93.8 million investment in port infrastructure since 2015. State and federal grants cover 75% of that allocated amount. The upgrades are aligned with the port’s recently implemented Strategic Plan, including a Climate Action Plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Strategic Partnerships, Inc. can provide information on contract opportunities, plus existing and future government funding. For more information, contact

Photo by Crash Underride

Paul Stinson

Paul Stinson has more than 15 years of journalism experience, including a decade covering the legislative and regulatory affairs of Texas, South Africa, and Germany for an affiliate of Bloomberg, L.P. His experience includes covering voting rights and the sectors of environment, energy, labor, healthcare, and taxes. Stinson joined the team in October as a reporter for SPI’s news publications, which include Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the newly-launched Government Market News. He is also a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, and an Arthur F. Burns Fellow. He holds a master’s in journalism from Indiana University.   

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